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How to grow and prepare tomatoes

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Digging a shallow, inclined trench for each plant, instead of a deep hole, will keep the roots nearer the surface where they will stay warm. Remove all but the top cluster of leaves. Lay the tomato plant in the trench. Bury the roots and stem in the upward-sloping trench with only the section of stem above ground that has leaves. Roots will grow all along the stem, giving it a good anchor.

Tomatoes need consistent water when mature, a quart a day, to ward off blossom end rot.

You should be harvesting sweet, tangy fresh tomatoes seven to weeks after you move your plants outdoors.

Savory Tomato Pie

I grew up in a region of the South that had a black belt of rich soil. The taste of our garden-grown vegetables -- and especially tomatoes -- could not be compared to any place that I have lived, or visited.

We let our tomatoes ripen on the vine, and when Mother wanted to use tomatoes, she just walked out to the garden and picked them. Oh, for her tomato sandwich with that freshly sliced tomato between two layers of white bread slathered in mayonnaise with salt and a bunch of pepper!

Something magical happens when tomato mixes with mayonnaise and salt. It is in the juice of the tomato being pulled out by the salt, mixing with the mayonnaise and making its own delicious dressing.

My children love savory tomato pie and even though I can think of many recipes to use tomatoes, I thought you might like this one. [Click at the right base of the first photo above to see a picture of the tomato pie.] If you would like the recipe for cornbread salad made with tomatoes and mayo, sautéed tomatoes, or other tomato recipes, please e-mail me through my website and I’ll be happy to send it to you.

Tomato Pie

1 prebaked 9-inch pie crust*
1-1/2 to 2 ripe tomatoes, peeled
1 tablespoon dried basil or 3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1 small to medium sweet onion, finely chopped
1-1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 to 1 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste

*Blind bake the pie crust according to package directions.

Slice peeled tomatoes into 1/2 to 3/4-inch slices. Set tomato
slices on a paper towel to drain while chopping onions.

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